Soccer is often seen as a unifying force in communities, bringing together people from different backgrounds, cultures, and ideologies. Nowhere is this concept better exemplified than Olimpia USA, a bilingual youth soccer club based in Columbus, Ohio. Olimpia USA has joined Ohio Soccer Moms and Dads for the second year and as a Premier Insider for 2023.* This amazing club is providing a safe and welcoming space for young athletes to come together and build their skills on the field and beyond. Let's find out more about how Olimpia USA is breaking down barriers one player at a time.
*OSMD Insiders are financial contributors of Ohio Soccer Moms and Dads. This blog post was created in collaboration with Olimpia USA, an OSMD Premier Insider for 2023. All photos featured in this post were provided by Olimpia USA.
Olimpia USA is a youth soccer club in Central Ohio that was founded by Wilmer and Amy Gonzales in 2017. Their first competitive season was in the Fall of the same year, with just four teams. Fast forward to today, and they now have 15 competitive teams. The name Olimpia USA was inspired by Wilmer's favorite Honduran soccer team, Olimpia, which is based in the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa. Interestingly, there are only two other teams besides Olimpia USA that spell Olimpia in the same way - one in Honduras and the other in Portugal.
Amy Gonzales, co-founder and club administrator, said that being bilingual was natural for both her and her husband since they both spoke Spanish. “Our lives are mixed with friendships of both spanish and english speakers! It is Wilmer's first language and I studied it in college but didn't truly learn to speak Spanish until I lived in Honduras.” Gonzales wanted a space for kids to grow and learn soccer in a comfortable atmosphere while being able to use the language they speak at home. They also wanted a place where Latino parents could speak with their child's coaches in their first language. The club promotes diversity because it is accepting and welcoming. Kids who join Olimpia USA learn to respect their teammates who come from all parts of the world including Columbia, Mexico, Venezuela, Germany, Morocco, and many others.
Olimpia USA is a unique club that stands out from the rest. Their players demonstrate an exceptional spirit of camaraderie, evidenced by the mantra "One Club, One Team" inscribed on their practice jersey. Parents and kids alike proudly support each other's victories in tournaments and at practices, making Olimpia USA a deeply connected and encouraging community and team. Providing training opportunities to members of all ages within their Jr. Academy and U18 programs, cultivating solid soccer players, showing athletes discipline and teaching them what it means to be a good teammate.
Amy Gonzales shared the struggle of building Olimpia USA by sharing “We were told from the very beginning there was no way we could start a club, we've been told many times there is no space for you here. We have had many doors shut in our face but we are resilient and persistent, we do not give up.” They faced many challenges due to their small size and limited facilities, but their heart is in the right place, and they continue to thrive. Their upcoming event for the “littles” as Amy lovingly describes their youngest players is Spring Jr. Academy, which can be found on their website. The club also has teams that are competing at a very high level this spring season, and they are excited to use these games and experiences to become stronger and better players and athletes.
For young soccer players, Amy Gonzales advises that hard work and persistence can take them far in their career as a soccer player and in their life. Don't let anyone else tell you that you do or do not have the talent to move forward in soccer. Olimpia USA has players who were initially overlooked by bigger clubs but have become some of the top players within the club due to their dedication and hard work. Work with coaches who believe in you and dream big. As Napolean Hill once said, "Dreams are the seedlings of reality."
If you want to join Olimpia USA, you can reach out to them via text in English or Spanish at 614-216-6788, email them at email@example.com, or write to them directly via their website.